Please pay attention

Recently there’ve been dozens of television ads stressing the importance of getting a shot to take care of shingles. Unfortunately, I didn’t bother to listen. A few days ago I noticed soreness radiating from my back around to my chest. The pain became excruciating.

Feeling an intense itching sensation the next day, I suspected what it was, a flaming case of shingles. Problems seem to come in threes, and mine were to be no exception. A week ago I’d written a small check in town, mistakenly using a check from a previous, closed checking account. I thought I’d destroyed all of those checks? Upon checking my new account, I found they were incorrectly charging me a monthly maintenance fee.

Off to town to take care of the check thing, the problem with my account, and to the doctor where I announced, “I have shingles.” Confirming my self-diagnosis, she sent me off with a prescription. Problems or no problems it was time for me to get busy with this column. I told my son Doug that I was going to write again about restaurant problems. He rolled his eyes and shook his head.

OK, so I do that often. I like to eat out when I can. Who doesn’t? However, finding new subjects to write about at my age, when you’ve been writing a column weekly for over 10 years, can be challenging. And now, at my age, I am no longer that active. A friend asked me once how often Doug and I eat out since my column seems to show we do this daily. We don’t.

After awhile I run out of ideas for meals for two, and we head out for fast food, or on occasion to regular restaurants. The results of what we found makes me want to scream. Sorry, but facts are facts. I’ll try to convey what happened to us this last month. Early one morning I’d just left my cancer doctor. Afterward, we passed an out of the way pleasant looking restaurant we’d never tried.

Not having a meal — regulations on tests, etc. — we stopped, having a nice breakfast, nothing special, eggs, etc. The next time I did the same chore we stopped there again, this time ordering their senior special, which consisted of an egg, a pancake and meat. This time the “meat” on my plate was a sausage link the size of my little finger. Doug’s a piece of bacon was a third the size of a regular slice.

But what really set me off was in the center of each pancake had been placed — and I kid you not — a piece of butter the exact size of a thin dime. I told the young lady I wanted more butter and she brought one of those paper cup things you see in all restaurants. It appeared the butter on our now cold pancakes had been scooped from a container. Famished, we ate and left.

We tried something new somewhere else on another day. You could order dinner A or B, which was for two or more people. We ordered B. After we waited a long time, a bowl of soup and a plate of appetizers for one finally appeared. I asked the young lady where the other order for my son was and she looked puzzled. It took over 20 minutes for the main course to arrive.

What we got was a platter with four shrimp w/sauce and a small container of rice.

Doug finally got his soup and appetizer long after that, just seconds before we were going to leave. We couldn’t even get anyone to take our money, so we left it on the table. Finally, there’s our last restaurant episode, which occurred just after we taken care of the bank, check and doctor visit.

Doug ordered steak and eggs, and I had a waffle with sausage. My sausage was cold; his steak was so tough he couldn’t eat it. It was about that time I saw Doug’s face as he motioned me to look down at the recently carpeted floor of this restaurant. We couldn’t believe how dirty it had become. It contrasted greatly of when we’d worked at the Blue Bell Inn in Pennsylvania in the 1960s.

The owner’s sister, Dorothy, scrubbed their kitchen floor with soapy bleach water every night on her hands and knees. After these recent experiences, I’ve decided to cook at home. It would also help if the shingles decided to leave town.

Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and columnist. She may be reached at


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